Swedes Lead The Way In Portugal

ROBERT Karlsson and Johan Edfors led a strong Swedish challenge

on the opening day of the Portugal

Masters in Vilamoura.

Both men carded eight-under-par rounds of 64 on the Oceanico

Victoria course to lead alongside Dutchman Maarten Lafeber.

Another Swede, Alexander Noren, was a shot further back, with

Finland’s Mikko Ilonen.

David Horsey was the best-placed Englishman on six under,

alongside veteran Irishman Paul McGinley.

Penrith’s Gary Lockerbie was not far behind with a five-under

par 67 and on 68, Hartlepool’s Graeme Storm. Ashington’s Kenneth

Ferrie carded 73.

Karlsson and Edfors both covered the Oceanico Victoria course in

unblemished rounds including eight birdies.

Karlsson was a model of consistency after starting his round on

the 10th, picking up birdies on his first, the 12th, the 16th and

the 17th.

He was equally efficient coming back, picking up shots at two,

three, four and six, and found the conditions to his liking.

“I think with this kind of set-up with not so much rough, that’s

very often what we play in Sweden,” Karlsson said. “It’s a bit

similar to Swedish golf, and the speed of the greens as well are

not super fast. I think we are very used to playing this type of

golf on our home courses where we grew up.” He added: “If the wind

stays down, this is one of the courses you can shoot, especially

now when the rough is down, as well.”

Edfors did much of his good work in his back nine with five

birdies to add to the three he produced on the way out.

Lafeber might have held the lead on his own but for a double

bogey on the par-four 18th, which ruined an otherwise impressive

round that included nine birdies.

After birdies on his opening three holes the Dutchman has

seemingly lost the momentum in his round when he shot a six at the


But the 35-year-old recovered impressively as he added a further

six birdies on his inward nine to take a share of the lead at a

course where 24 under par has been the average winning score.

Noren also experienced a day of ups and downs in his round with

seven birdies, one eagle and two bogeys.

Of Europe’s Ryder Cup heroes, England’s Ross Fisher and Edoardo

Molinari were best placed after shooting four-under-par rounds of


Miguel Angel Jimenez was two shots further back, while Francesco

Molinari looked set to miss the cut after carding a two-over-par